Monday, December 8, 2008

Fitness Footwear Takes Walking/Exercise to the Next Level!

Over the past few years there has been number of companies launching shoes and other footwear that claim to help people get fit. One of the most notable fitness shoe companies (SwissMasai) makes a shoe called the MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology). The MBT, called the anti-shoe, was created by Swiss engineer Karl Muller in the late 90's. During his trip to Korea, Muller noticed that walking barefoot on rice paddy fields helped to relieve his back pain. He also discovered that in Eastern Africa the Masai Tribesmen walked barefoot and had little or no back pain. Muller wanted everyone to experience the benefits of walking barefoot on natural terrain so he invented the MBT. The Swiss Masai website says that MBTs " creates a natural instability underfoot, which stimulates and exercises the body's supporting muscle system." MBTs claim to improve posture and joint injuries, reduce hip and knee stress, and activate muscles.


I remember first seeing the MBTs (probably in 2000) in a Bliss catalog and it was described as a fitness shoe that was receiving rave reviews from models, actresses, and fitness gurus. The shoe was not exactly attractive then but now there are all type of styles and colors and they even have a boot that is kind of cool.

I have not personally tried the MBT but I have always wanted to-I just could not afford to fork over $225 plus for a pair shoes. However, with the downturn of the economy I have been seeing deals for about $125.

The Fitflop is another shoe or sandal that claims to give wearers an workout while they walk. The Fitflop websites says that their sandals use a micro- wobbleboard technology ( patent-pending) that simulates walking barefoot but with more cushion. The website also lists 7 benefits of wearing Fitflops which includes working "bum" muscles.

Fitflop sandals range in price from $49.99 to $59.99 and they have also launched a shoe ($80) and a boot ($125).



Another fitness sneaker called Springboost uses dorsiflexion to help wearers achieve optimal results during their workout and athletics. The Springboost website says that "The footwear technology Springboost developed allows one to jump higher, run faster while using less energy." There are also sports/activity specific shoes available such as the b-volley for volleyball which helps the wearer to jump higher. And there is the B-Walk Nordic with helps walkers achieve better posture. Some of the benefits that Springboost shoes claim to give wearers are "better blood circulation" and "increase in explosive power." The average price for a pair of these sneakers is $140.

For $150 you can get a pair of Miyata Muscle Trainer shoes which have internal weights (2.2 to 3 lbs) which makes this shoe about 4 times heavier than regular sneakers. The Miyata claims that the internal weights will help you to burn about 300 calories in just 30 minutes.

Earth Footwear is an eco-friendly shoe company that offers a variety of shoes from athletic to casual to boots and more. Their footwear use Kalso Negative Heel Technology that, as says the website, "shifts your weight back, helping you burn calories while strengthening and toning your body." Earth shoes range in price from $69 to about $200. Earth also offers vegan options.